11. Symphyotrichum fontinale (Alexander) G. L. Nesom, Phytologia. 77: 287. 1995.
Florida water aster
Aster fontialis Alexander in J. K. Small, Man. S.E. Fl., 1382, 1509. 1933; A. patens Aiton var. floridanus R. W. Long
Perennials, 30–90 cm, colonial; long-rhizomatous. Stems 1–5+, erect (light to reddish brown, straight, sometimes stout), proximally moderately to densely hispidulo-strigillose, sometimes glabrescent, distally moderately to densely hispidulo-strigillose, sometimes sparsely stipitate-glandular. Leaves (green to dark green) firm, margins entire, faces sparsely to moderately strigoso-scabrous, sometimes sparsely stipitate-glandular; basal absent at flowering, sessile, blades (3-nerved) oblanceolate to obovate, 25–40 × 12–15 mm, bases attenuate, margins entire (remotely serrate), scabrous, apices obtuse, short-mucronate; proximal cauline usually withering by flowering, sessile, blades obovate to oblanceolate, 25–80 × 5–18 mm, bases rounded or narrowly auriculate-clasping, margins distally shallowly serrate to subentire, scabrellous, apices spinulose-mucronate; distal sessile, blades lanceolate or oblanceolate to oblong-lanceolate, 5–50 × 2–10 mm, reduced distally and becoming bractlike (arrays), bases subclasping to (distally) rounded, margins scabrous, apices acute to white-mucronulate or -subspinulose, faces sometimes shiny, minutely gland-dotted. Heads (4–400) in wide to narrow, paniculiform arrays, branches ascending to widely spreading (well-developed), densely small-leaved. Peduncles ascending (secund in well-developed arrays?), 0.3–4.5 cm, densely strigoso-hirsute, sometimes sparsely stipitate-glandular, bracts dense, spreading or reflexed (rarely ascending), narrowly oblong to linear-lanceolate, mostly ca. 3 × 1 mm, spinulose, sparsely to moderately strigilloso-scabrous, sometimes sparsely minutely stipitate-glandular, grading into phyllaries. Involucres cylindro-campanulate, 6–7.6 mm. Phyllaries in 4–5 series (appressed), oblong or oblanceolate (outer) to linear-oblanceolate (innermost), unequal, bases indurate, margins hyaline, scarious, erose, ciliate or ciliolate, and/or sometimes stipitate-glandular, often reddish distally, green zones elliptic (outer) to lanceolate, apices erect, acute to acuminate, mucronulate to apiculate (inner), often tinged red-purplish, faces glabrous or glabrate. Ray florets 15–30; corollas purplish-blue to lavender, laminae 7–13 × 0.8–2 mm. Disc florets 19-25; corollas cream to pale yellow turning reddish purple, sometimes also brownish, 5.2–6 mm, tubes slightly shorter than funnelform throats, lobes lanceolate to triangular, 0.8–1.2 mm. Cypselae tan, obovoid-fusiform, slightly compressed, 1.9–2.3 mm, 4–5-nerved (golden bronze), faces sparsely strigillose to glabrescent; pappi sordid, 5–6.2 mm.
Flowering Nov–Dec. Moist, sometimes peaty soils, marshes, sandhills, hammocks, flood plains, ditch banks, rocky bluffs along streams; of conservation concern; 0–50 m; Fla.
Symphyotrichum fontinale has been considered to be conspecific with S. patens or S. dumosum of subg. Symphyotrichum (A. Cronquist 1980). It fits well into sect. Grandiflori of subg. Virgulus.